HAITI: PARADOXES, CONTRADICTIONS,INTERSECTIONS IN THE MAKING OF A PEOPLE
Xavier University of Louisiana
Tulane University and The Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies
New Orleans, Louisiana
November 1-4, 2017
The formation of Haiti as a sovereign state and the emergence and evolution of its people and its culture have followed a complex route. Since the birth of the nation of Haiti, multiple hierarchies and interconnected systems of oppression and exclusion have engendered structural inequities with respect to Haitian citizenship. As the society has continued to claim equality and liberty, differentiated and unequal citizenship have actually prevailed, with social, racial, colored, and gendered social groups having different levels of rights of participation and belonging.
Colonial St. Domingue’s socio-political and economic landscape granted unequal access to power and privilege. The Haitian Revolution did not achieve a radical transformation of these unequal relations. Rather, the régime agraire of Toussaint Louverture and the Code Rural of Jean-Pierre Boyer reproduced the patterns of exploitation and exclusion of the slave society. These practices led to the construction of the category moun andeyò–the peasantry, a class of people whose severely limited access to power and resources render them the primary actors in waves of migration and the primary victims of natural disasters. Over time, the moun andeyò concept has been mapped onto other categories of people such as women, the urban poor, practitioners of Vodou, and people of different sexual orientations.
The Haitian Studies Association will hold its 29th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, a site that offers scholars a look at how the “making of the people” occurs outside of the geopolitical spaces associated with a nation-state. Indeed, the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 forced not only the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, but also the migration of slaves, slave owners, and free blacks and mulattos between the two former French territories. These movements of people led to the creation of new spaces where migrants linked to an emergent Haiti would become part of a new North American dynamic also characterized by inequalities and exclusion.
Haitian Studies Association
McCormack Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 211